Why Criminal Minds Dropped Reid’s Drug Addiction Story

Following the harrowing experience of being kidnapped, Spencer Reid became addicted to drugs — something that was never resolved on Criminal Minds.

Criminal Minds just dropped Spencer Reid’s (Matthew Gray-Gubler) drug addiction arc, and many viewers are wondering why. An original member of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) in the show, the character was known for his smarts. But, Reid’s life wasn’t a walk in the park; while all characters on Criminal Minds went through a lot, he’s arguably had the most traumatizing experiences among them.

Throughout his 15-season arc on Criminal Minds, Reid was in several near-death experiences. One of the most memorable instances happened fairly early in season 2, episode 15, titled “Revelations.” In it, psychotic serial killer, Tobias Hankel (James Van Der Beek) kidnaps Reid and proceeded to torture and drug him for two days straight until the BAU rescued him. While Reid survived, he developed an addiction to Dilaudid — a narcotic pain killer. Reid’s personal struggle played out, but was mostly a secondary plot line until he suddenly got clean by late season 3.

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Related: How Criminal Minds’ Cast Can Return For Season 16 (Where They Left Off)

Despite showing Reid overcoming his addiction, the whole narrative wasn’t properly tackled. In fact, there were a handful of episodes that mentioned his personal struggle, and even they only vaguely referred to it. There’s no clear reason why Criminal Minds didn’t follow through with the set-up regarding Reid’s substance addiction, other than claims that Gubler personally requested for the plot line to be dropped. There are also speculations that Reid was an integral part of the BAU, and moving forward with the aforementioned arc would’ve hindered him in performing as an FBI agent. Without his involvement, most of Criminal Minds‘ cases would’ve been difficult to solve.



Spencer Reid inside his apartment in Criminal Minds

Gubler has stated in an interview that Reid has “hints of schizophrenia“, and thus had the show needed an excuse to stop him from helping the BAU, they could’ve easily had the character take a hiatus for his mental health. Instead, making him a drug addict posed a couple of storytelling issues on Criminal Minds. Aside from distracting Reid from actively doing his job, there would also be complications regarding keeping his job, as his addiction could have also seen him suspended if not even potentially outright fired. As previously mentioned, Reid was important to the BAU; a lot of the team’s cases were solved thanks to his intellect that it would be a massive loss if he had at the very least been suspended from the FBI.


Paramount+’s Criminal Minds‘ revival is currently in development. But, at this point, no word yet if Gubler will reprise his role as Reid in it. Most of the actor’s co-stars have already signed up for the reboot, but Gubler hasn’t officially boarded the project yet. If he does join it, chances are that they will never revisit Reid’s drug addiction arc again, but it’s curious how BAU will function without him.

More: Criminal Minds Season 16 Has A Good Reason To Not Have Spencer Reid

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